UK to pay at least £370M to Rwanda under migration partnership News
Lauren Hurley / No 10 Downing, OGL 3, via Wikimedia Commons
UK to pay at least £370M to Rwanda under migration partnership

The National Audit Office (NAO), in a report published Friday, revealed the UK government will pay at least £370 million to Rwanda under their obligations in the Migration and Economic Development Partnership (MEDP). As the UK’s independent public spending watchdog, the NAO audits and reports the government’s financial accounts in order to help improve public services.

According to the report, the Home Office will pay £370 million to the government of Rwanda through a fund termed the Economic Transformation and Integration Fund (ETIF). In signing the MEDP, “the UK  government agreed to make fixed payments” into this fund—totaling £370 million. Further payments required under the agreement include: “£20,000 into the Fund for every individual who is relocated . . . £120 million once 300 people have been relocated,” and “a total of up to £150,874 per individual for processing and operational costs over five years.” These payments will cease once a person chooses to leave Rwanda, however, the UK government will provide Rwanda a “one-off payment of £10,000 per individual to help facilitate their voluntary departure.”

The report concluded that, since the start of February, the UK government has paid “£20 million to the Government of Rwanda as an advance payment against which future processing and operational costs will be offset.” The UK government is expected to pay an additional £8 million by the end of this year.

The NAO highlighted in its report that the Home Office has taken measures in order to examine the success of the partnership and “oversee payments” by setting up committees tasked with reviewing the implementation of the partnership. These committees are to advise on the basis of their report “whether terms of the agreement are being adhered to.”

The UK government announced it was entering into the MEDP with Rwanda in 2022, which aims to “tackle [the] global migration crisis.” Under the partnership, asylum seekers who enter the UK “illegally” are to be relocated to Rwanda where they will be able to claim asylum. Under the partnership, the UK government has agreed to assist development in Rwanda by providing funding and to “meet processing and integration costs for each relocated person.”

This report is the latest update in the UK government’s highly controversial migration plan to “stop the boats.” The government has faced many legal challenges in passing their recent immigration policies, as well as garnering widespread criticism from human rights organizations and the UN. Most recently, a UK Parliamentary report released February 12 found the Home Office’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda to be “fundamentally incompatible” with human rights and in breach of the principle of non-refoulement as provided by Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Despite this backlash, the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill, which seeks to declare Rwanda a safe country in order to justify sending people there who have “illegally” immigrated to the UK, is in its final stages of becoming law in the UK.